Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Conflict

C is for Conflict 

Because if you are just describing what is on the table for dinner, and something isn't overcooked, poisoned, or a bloody writhing mess for your vegetarian boss--then I'm not entertained. I'm the opposite of entertained, I'm BORED.

When you don't have conflict, you might have boring.

Example: Boring

Sylvia had been looking forward to the night out for weeks. She picked out her favorite knee length cocktail dress and peep-toe sling backs and got ready to meet her husband's boss and his wife for the first time ever. The reservations were at a new, super trendy, restaurant downtown that had been receiving excellent reviews for weeks. She couldn't believe she would soon be enjoying a two hundred dollar steak--all on the company's dime!

When they arrived, everyone said their hellos and sat down. The dinner was delicious, the conversation delightful, and Sylvia got a lovely picture of herself and the boss's beautiful wife to post on Facebook. Her friends would be so jealous.

Example: Conflict

Sylvia had been dreading the night out for weeks. Despite the scornful glances she'd been shooting her rickety treadmill, she had yet to shed a single pound of the baby weight. As she stood in her closet, staring at the tiny, depressing reminders of how thin she used to be, a creeping panic pulled at her throat. Why the hell hadn't she just gone and bought something that fit? She reached for the only viable solution, the two piece maternity cocktail dress she'd worn to her brother's wedding last winter. She was going to look like total crap next to all the super hip, pencil skirted lawyers sipping brightly colored martinis they never had to consider paying for.

Never mind the boss's practically seventeen year old wife.

When they arrived, she couldn't stop fidgeting with her top. She had tried to compensate for her sad attire by digging out her old push-up bra from the back of her drawer and using extra eyeshadow. Unfortunately, since she was no longer a svelte, toned cat and was now a lactating cow, her enormous milky breasts hardly fit inside the shallow cups and were now bubbling over and threatening to spill a nipple at any second. When she pulled at her top for the twelfth time in as many minutes, her husband gave her a shitty look that practically melted her spine.

He was embarrassed. Standing here, in his slick tailored suit, next to her has-been body, she embarrassed him. The realization made a knot lodge in her throat and ignited an overwhelming desire to run from the room.

Blah, blah...but you get the picture.

In short, if everything is going just fine with your scene, everyone is getting along simply great, you have a problem. Unless of course that just great is going to get completely turned on it's head. Like if in my first example she posted the picture on Facebook and, after posting it, she noticed the way her husband and the boss's wife stood a little too close...


  1. So true! Conflict equals tension of some sort and that's what usually keeps readers reading. By the way, I liked that Conflict Example. :)

  2. Love those examples! I need a treadmill so I can glare at it :)

  3. That was very helpful. It explains the use for and need for conflict in a story well.

    You made me wonder...I'd love to hear now what happened after she posted the Facebook picture...it sounds like it could get interesting for her... :)

    Nice to meet you on the A to Z!

  4. Great use of conflict. Poor girl. Milk boobs are hard to keep under control.

  5. Very interesting post Rebecca
    Keep it up

  6. Thankfully I haven't lactated in, oh, 10 years or so and sadly, they still pop out and say "HI!" every time I wear something a wee bit too low...

    Good news is that THAT doesn't embarrass my husband. :)

    Here from a-z... loving the theme, I read the B post as well. As a mother with a high functioning ASD child, I can tell you behavior is EVERYTHING.

    1. Hey there! I'll be checking out your blog as well. Yes, about the behavior with HF-ASD! As an aside, have you checked out any of Jed Baker's books? Specifically "No More Melt Downs"--I use his social story books at work AND always rec that book to parents--even with non-ASD kids! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Good examples! You should have been a creative writing teacher.

  8. Very interesting read!

    Cant wait !